owu owu home


Jump to a Database 
 Subject Guides
Citing Sources
 Interlibrary Loan

In Person

Call Us x3242

E-mail Us

Chat After Hours

Back to the Libraries Homepage

Citing Sources in Chemistry

What are citations? 
Why are citations used? 
What is plagiarism? 
Where do citations go in a paper?
Parenthetical Citations
Reference Lists
Basic Citation Elements
Citing a Journal Article | Book | Book Chapter | Web Site
Important Things to Note about Citations


The use of proper and complete citations is required for Chemistry projects.  The citation style for this course is the same style used by the American Chemical Society.  The ACS Style Guide: A Maunual for Authors and Editors, 2nd ed., published by the American Chemical Society, fully describes how to prepare citations and reference lists.  Examples and references for citations to typical works are given in this guide. 

Available at:
     Science Reference
     QD 8.5 .A25 1997

Citations and references for Chem360 projects should be given as if they are intended for publication in an ACS journal, such as The Journal of American Chemical Society

What are citations?

Scholarship builds on the work of others.  Citations give credit where credit is due. Citations, whether in-line in the text of a work or found in a reference list or bibliography, note the source of the work, words, ideas, or facts that you use in your writing or presentation. 

Why are citations used?

  • To give credit to the work of others 
  • To add authority and credibility to your claims 
  • To be honest about the extent of your original contribution 
  • To avoid plagiarism 
    What is plagiarism?

    Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s ideas, work, or words as if they were your own.  Plagiarism occurs anytime you do not give credit where credit is due.  Plagiarism is an ethical and legal issue.  Ohio Wesleyan University addresses plagiarism in the Academic Honesty Policy.

    Where do citations go in a paper?

    Citations are made in the body of the text (parenthetical citation) and grouped together at the end of a work (reference list).       

    Parenthetical citations, or in-line citations are made in the text at the point where the material is used.  Journal articles in analytical chemistry use a superscript number at the point cited.

    The reaction was carried out using a standard Lever apparatus 5 with modifcations as described by Grunkemeyer et al. 6-7

    Numerical reference citations are numbered consecutively from the beginning of a paper.  When, occasionally, a reference is repeated in the text, the original number is used, a new number is not given.

    Use last names to identify authors in parenthetical citations.  If a work has two authors, use both last names linked together with the word "and".

    If a referenced work has more than two authors, use only the first author followed by the phrase "et al.:

    Fike and Lance 12 determined that....
    Vogt et al. 24 found ....

    Sometimes the same first author publishes different papers on similar topics with different co-authors.  To reference multiple works by the same principle author use a phrase such as "and colleagues" or "and co-workers".

    Brugh and co-workers 17, 23-25 established ....

    References List is given at the conclusion of a work.  This list contains only the sources actually referenced or cited in the work.  If a source is consulted but not used or cited in a work, it is not listed in the References Cited section. 

    Basic Citation Elements

    author names author names
    article title (if used) editor name (if any)
    abbreviated journal title book title
    year of publication publisher
    volume number (if any) city of publication
    pagination of cited article year of publication

    The Reference List is numbered, in order,  with reference numbers corrosponding to their appearance in the text.  Some journals use a very brief format for the reference list where the title of journal articles or chapters in edited volumes are omitted.  For Chem360, please include the title of all articles, books, and chapters in edited volumes.  Use the following examples as a guide:

    Journal Article

    Author 1; Author 2; Author 3.  Title of Article.  Journal Abbreviation Year
    Volume, Inclusive Pagination.

    Ehara, Y.; Sakamoto, K.; Marumo, Y.  A method for forensic identification of vegetable oil stains: Rapid analysis of carboxylic acids with with  methyl esterfication using purge-and-trap gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. J. Foren. Sci2001, 46,  1462-1469.


    Author 1; Author 2; etc.  Book Title; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Inclusive Pagination.

    Dodd, J.S.  The ACS Style Guide, 2nd. ed.; ACS: Washington, D.C., 1997,  173-229.

    Edited Volume

    Author 1; Author 2; etc.  Chapter Title. In Book Title; Editor 1, 

              Editor 2, etc., Eds.; Series Information (if any);Publisher: Place 
              of Publication, Year; Inclusive Pagination.

    Adams, M.R; Garton, A., Eds;  Far-Ultraviolet Degredation of Selected 
              Polymers.  In Polymer Durability: Degredation, Stabilizatioon, 
              and Lifetime Prediction; Clough, R.L., Billingham, N.C., 
              Gillen, K.T., Rds.;  Advances in Chemistry Series 249; 
              ACS: Washington, DC. 1996, 139-158.

    Web Site

    Author (if any).  Title of Site. URL (accessed date), 

    Peoples, D.C.  Resources for Chemistry 360 Instrumental Analysis.
    http://library.owu.edu/science/c360main.html (September 2, 2002).
    Important Things to Note about Citations

  • journal titles are usually capitilized sentence-style
  • book titles are usually capitalized book-title style
  • journal names are always abbreviated
  • authors are generally identified by last name and first initials
  • pay attention to punctuation placement - periods, commas, semi-colons
  • pay attention to italics and bolding
  • reference lists usually have the second line of entry indented, though this can vary with publication
  • URLs can be cumbersome, it is not necessary to indent the second line of these entries
  • Article titles are often omitted from reference list entries - this varies by publication
  • the rule of thumb is to give only enough information that the reference may be easily located - and to be consistent in style.
  • The ACS Style Guide is an excellent resource - use it!

    Dodd, J.S. Ed. The ACS Style Guide, 2nd. ed.; ACS: Washington, D.C., 1997.

    This page was prepared by 
    Deborah Carter Peoples 
    Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries 
    library info contact & hours policies workshops gov docs sp science music mellon

    Five Colleges of Ohio | OhioLINK

    Updated August 17, 2011
    Send Comments & Questions to Web Manager
    ©2012 OWU Libraries, Ohio Wesleyan University, 43 Rowland Ave., Delaware, OH 43015